This basil artichoke tapenade is a refreshing dip for easy entertaining. It tastes like olive tapenade meets basil pesto meets spinach artichoke dip. With coarsely chopped artichoke hearts and green olives tossed with capers, pine nuts, parmesan, lemon juice, and olive oil, it’s flavorful and simple to make! Serve on a dinner-worthy charcuterie board.
We’ve unintentionally conditioned our 3 year old daughter Zoella to expect dessert after dinner. Usually dessert is a single gummy fruit snack, but lately she’s been surprising us. I’m sure you’re wondering, “what does dessert have to do with basil artichoke tapenade?!” You’ll see.
When we got home late from dinner out one night last week, I told Zoella, “you worked really hard to to eat your dinner tonight and you played so well with Leela. Since we didn’t have dessert tonight, I’m going to put a special treat –”
Before I could even say “in your lunch tomorrow,” she broke down in a screaming tantrum about how she wanted dessert. (Well you’re definitely not getting that dessert now, kid.)
She ran into her bedroom and screamed into her pillow for several minutes before gathering her composure. Sniffling, but satisfied, she said, “but I did have dessert tonight. I had a french fry!” And that was that.
I’d given her my last french fry after she finished her cauliflower and apparently she considered that dessert. PARENTING WIN.
Well, tonight folks, Zoella asked for olives and salami for dessert. In fact, she regularly asks for olives or salami for dessert. (Are you going to tell her or should I? Actually, let’s keep up this charade as long as possible.)
And with that, I bring you this dessert tapenade. Just kidding. This basil artichoke tapenade is all savory, but it’s so delicious, I’d eat it for lunch, snack, dinner, or middle-of-the-night second dinner.
How to make a dinner-worthy charcuterie board
I’m also sharing how to make a dinner-worthy charcuterie board featuring this basil artichoke tapenade in partnership with Safeway. The guide contains ideas for what to put on a cheese and charcuterie board. See the full board below and head over for the detailed charcuterie board menu with tips and tricks for arranging a showpiece platter.
What is a tapenade used for?
Tapenade is a dip or spread typically made out of finely chopped or puréed olives, capers, and olive oil. It often also contains other ingredients like garlic, herbs, or lemon zest.
It’s often used as an appetizer dip for crackers or toast, served on a charcuterie board along size cured meats, or used as a condiment on sandwiches or fish.
What is Basil Artichoke Tapenade?
This basil artichoke tapenade takes the main components of a traditional olive tapenade and swaps out some of the olives for canned artichoke hearts. With fresh basil, parmesan, and pine nuts, this dip tastes like a cross between traditional olive tapenade and pesto.
I’ve left this artichoke tapenade coarsely chopped to make it texturally interesting as an appetizer dip. Left chunky, it tastes great spooned over slices of baguette or crackers with fresh mozzarella balls or pecorino romano.
You could also pulse the tapenade until smooth if you’d like to use it as a sandwich spread.
What does tapenade taste like?
With olives as the primary ingredient, tapenade tastes pleasantly salty, briny, and acidic.
With artichokes subbing in for some of the olives and fresh basil and nuts, this basil artichoke version is less briny and a bit more bright and herbaceous. This refreshing dip is the perfect addition for an appetizer table or centerpiece for a show-stopping dinner-worthy charcuterie board.
Other favorite artichoke heart recipes
- Garlic white wine skillet chicken
- Baked white bean artichoke dip
- Gluten-free tempura artichoke hearts
- 1 14oz can artichoke quarters in water, drained and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup green olives (such as manzanilla, Spanish queen, or castelvetrano), coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Pinch kosher salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- Toss all the ingredients except for the pine nuts together in a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until well combined and coarsely chopped, but not puréed. Alternatively, finely chop all of the ingredients by hand and toss them together to serve.
- Fold in the pine nuts and transfer to a serving bowl.
- Recommendation: serve with crackers or toasted baguette and fresh mozzarella, on a charcuterie board, or as the garnish for fish.